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From lions to Lions

From lions to Lions

Finance Minister Michael Cullen says the National Party is in danger of becoming the tax policy equivalent of the Lions rugby team – losing the ball on their own throw-in, failing to deliver and lacking direction.

“Given the fact that they’ve spent the last five and a half years in Parliament mainly blaming the ref, that’s not surprising,” he said. But they can’t now back off from the expectations they have created.

“Ordinary Kiwis working full time on $35,000 or $40,000 a year have been led to expect a $30 a week tax cut. At the top end, National has clearly indicated that it would lift the 39 cent threshold to $80,000 a year and lower the rate to 36 cents. And the promise to lower the corporate rate to 30 cents has been well-repeated.

“Add in rolling back the indexation of all petrol excise duty and road user charges and the diversion of these to the Land Transport Fund, tax breaks for the racing industry and abolishing the carbon charge just to mention the main National promises, and there would be no change from $4 billion in a year.

“National have only themselves to blame as they have led people to expect this to be delivered at least within the first term of a National government, and a very large proportion of it by 1 April next year.

“They have also said very clearly they could do all of this without affecting spending on health, education, law and order and New Zealand Superannuation.

“Now Dr Brash says tax cuts will be phased in as spending is cut back from that committed by Labour. In other words, cuts in these big areas will be the price for tax cuts.

“Perhaps that is why National now seems to be backing away from earlier promises to deliver a full alternative budget. They know that there is simply no way they can make the numbers add up without disclosing their full cost cutting agenda.

“They have spear-tackled themselves and we can look forward to more bluster and prevarication and as they attempt to wriggle out of the hole they have created,” Dr Cullen said.

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